Glasgow City Council has voted to make women central to all aspects of planning and public realm design.
Green Councillor Holly Bruce proposed the motion, which could see changes to the infrastructure such as wider pavements to accommodate prams and safer travel routes.
Speaking to The Scotsman newspaper, Holly Bruce explained: “For too long, our streets, parks and buildings have been designed by men. The apparently ‘gender-neutral’ approach that we’ve used for centuries has meant that the male perspective has become the default.”
The world is slowly acknowledging countless examples of gender-neutral design that are anything but.
For example, at work, thermostats are frequently set at temperatures that suit the male body and metabolism. Women produce less heat and it’s estimated that current offices are on average five degrees too cold for women.
In medicine, research into cardiovascular health has historically centred on male physiology with the result that women are 50 per cent more likely to be misdiagnosed after a heart attack. And when it comes to vehicle safety, crash-test dummies are built based on the average man’s physical dimensions – an oversight that contributes towards the fact women are over 40 per cent more likely to suffer serious injuries in a car crash. It’s only in recent years that a female crash dummy has been developed.
Glasgow deserves recognition and praise for its move towards feminist town planning. When women take the lead in this, as in so many areas of public life, amazing things can happen. The transformative changes to Dutch town planning in the early 70s were championed by women like Maartje van Putten – the first president elect of the Stop de Kindermoord protest movement and later an MEP. Here she talks to us about her campaigning work half a century ago.
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